OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine whether disposable suction catheters can be reused in the same patient for a 24-hour period without affecting the incidence of pneumonia. DESIGN: The study design was a randomized controlled trial. SETTING: The study was conducted in the pediatric intensive care unit of a tertiary pediatric center. SAMPLE: Subjects included 486 children with an endotracheal tube in place. OUTCOME MEASURES: The development of pneumonia, diagnosed with radiographic and clinical evidence, was the measure. Cost analysis was also undertaken. METHOD: Subjects in the study group (n = 241) were suctioned using the same catheter for a 24-hour period. Those in the control group (n = 245) had a new catheter for each episode of suctioning. RESULTS: Pneumonia developed in 14 members (5.71%) of the control group and in 12 members (4.98%) of the study group, a difference of 0.7% (95% CI, -3.3% to 4.7%). Cost analysis indicated a saving of Aust $4.14 per patient per day. CONCLUSION: Reusing suction catheters for up to 24 hours is both safe and cost-effective.